Hoffenheim attacking midfielder Takashi Usami is pleased with his progress in the Bundesliga this season.
The 20-year-old Japanese prodigy was limited to only a handful of first-team appearances at Bayern Munich last season, but has already showed his potential this term by scoring two goals and assisting a further two strikes.
“I have been in Germany for a year and I am now comfortable in the Bundesliga,” he told Bundesliga.com.
“I have been able to adapt well to the pace of the Bundesliga and I am used to it now, but I can still see room for improvement.”
Usami was forced to play for Bayern’s second-string side on many occasions last season, as he competed with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery for a starting slot.
“It was very difficult competing with such world-class players and I was unfortunately unable to make the breakthrough. However, I learnt a lot from them and this was very important for me,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t play much last year, but I was still able to work on my weaknesses and that work is now bearing its fruits here in Hoffenheim.”
The Bundesliga has seen an influx of Japanese players such as Shinji Kagawa and Atsuto Uchida in recent years and has the most Asian players out of any league in Europe.
Usami, however, is not surprised that so many of his countrymen excel in Germany.
“It really doesn’t surprise me that Japanese players are so successful in the Bundesliga because we are talking about some very good players,” he added.
“I think it’s down to the mentality of Japanese players. They all want to improve constantly and are very ambitious.”
He admits that he does find the language difficult but states his intent to continue playing in the Bundesliga.
“German is certainly a difficult language. I have a tutor here in Hoffenheim and I feel that things are slowly improving. I’m also trying to work as little as possible with an interpreter,” Usami said.
“The Bundesliga is fantastic. The level (of football) is extremely high and the atmosphere in the stadiums is amazing. I would like to be successful with Hoffenheim and play in the Bundesliga for as long as possible.”